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Airline credit cards

Compare more than a dozen cards that earn reward flights and offer valuable airline perks.

Compare airline credit cards

Many airlines offer cobranded credit cards with airline-specific perks. If you fly with different carriers, you might like a general travel card instead. To compare cards, use the table and click "Show Filters" to browse options with specific features you're looking for.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
10x miles on hotel and rental car purchases booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on every other purchase

$395
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months.
Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0
Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases and dining with this simple, entry-level Delta card, and pay no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
50,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$250
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Earn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
5x Avios on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL in the first 12 months (then 3x), 3x Avios on directly purchased hotels in the same timeframe (then 2x) and 1x Avios on all other purchases
$95
Earn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
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This article was reviewed by Brad Stevens, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and 30-year veteran of the credit industry who specializes in rehabilitating struggling banks.

The best airline credit cards of 2022

Finder experts have identified the top-performing airline cards on the market for 2021. Have a look at the best airline cards to get an idea of what value looks like and what you might want in your card.

Let’s break down how airline credit cards work

An airline credit card typically offers rewards for airline purchases, usually in the form of airline miles. You can redeem these miles on flights or other related purchases, such as seat upgrades.

Airline cards tend to come in two varieties: cobranded cards that are associated with a specific airline, and general airline cards. A cobranded card usually offers more perks or earning potential for that specific airline, which can play a significant role in how you pick an airline card.

Compare & apply for a card

Look at cobranded and general airline cards that fit your airline preferences and apply like normal.

Earn miles

Once you receive your card, use it on categories that earn you the most miles. Cobranded cards tend to reward the most miles for purchases made with that specific airline.

Redeem miles

Once you’ve earned enough miles for a flight, you can book one through your credit card account or the frequent flyer program associated with your credit card.

How to compare airline credit cards

Aside from the card’s APR, here are a few important features to compare when selecting an airline rewards credit card:

  • Airline. If you prefer flying a certain airline, look for a cobranded card that offers rewards specific to that company. Otherwise, a general travel card can help you earn on all airlines.
  • Annual fee. Airline credit cards often feature annual fees to offset the various perks they offer.
  • Signup bonus. Many airline cards offer a mileage signup bonus when you spend within the set requirements. This bonus can easily pay for a roundtrip flight, depending on your destination and class.
  • Earning categories. Cobranded cards tend to earn the most miles on purchases associated with that airline. If you plan on using your card for day-to-day purchases, consider a card that earns miles on those purchases.
  • Perks. Both types of travel cards can offer a variety of perks, including free breakfast, upgraded rooms, statement credits or concierge service access.
  • Foreign transaction fees. Many airline cards forgo foreign transaction fees, though that’s not a guarantee. Make sure to check if you plan on using your card abroad.’

Pick a cobranded airline card if you fly just one airline

You have two overarching choices for an airline credit card: a cobranded card or a general airline card. Here’s the quick rundown on the major differences.

  • Cobranded airline cards earn accelerated miles on specific airlines and features additional perks or features exclusive to that airline.
  • General airline cards earn miles that you can redeem on multiple airlines or even on non-travel redemptions. They also come with additional perks, though they aren’t usually tied to the airline and are more general in nature (travel credits or Priority Pass lounge access for example).
  • Cobranded airline cards often earn more miles per dollar on purchases associated with that specific airline compared to a general airline card. The tradeoff is a a cobranded airline card likely has fewer earning categories compared to a general airline card.
  • You can read more about the differences between each card and which you should choose at our full cobranded card guide.

    Compare credit cards by credit score and card type

    Back to top

    Pros and cons of airline credit cards

    Pros

    • Earn big miles on airline purchases. Airline cards let you earn better than average rewards on airline purchases. You can redeem these rewards on flights, upgrades and more.
    • Airline perks. Many airline credit cards come with airline specific perks, such as free checked bags or airport lounge access.
    • Earn award flights without airline spending. Some airline cards let you earn miles while spending on everyday purchases such as groceries.

    Cons

    • Can be expensive. Many of the best airline cards come with large annual fees. You’ll need to make sure you use your card enough to offset this annual fee.
    • Redemption options can be limited. Depending on the card, you might have fewer redemption options for your rewards than you’d have with a general travel card.

    When is an airline credit card worth it?

    An airline credit card isn’t worth it for every traveler. At the very least, the airline card’s value has to at least offset the cost of the card’s annual fee. Here’s a quick breakdown of when you should get one and when you should look for another type of card.

    Get an airline credit card if…

    • You favor a specific airline. If you prefer a specific airline over others, you might be an ideal candidate for a cobranded airline card. These cards tend to have more generous perks and rewards than general airline cards.
    • You travel heavy. If you’re always checking bags when you fly, an airline credit card can save you hundreds of dollars over the years.
    • You don’t want other rewards. An airline credit card is a better pick than a general travel card if you plan on only reinvesting your rewards back into travel.
    • You’re interested in elite status. Some airline credit cards can help you reach the next tier of an airline’s elite program faster.
    • You want a companion pass. Many of the best airline cards available offer companion passes, either as a welcome offer or on each card anniversary. These passes are worth hundreds of dollars.

    Get something else if…

    • You don’t travel often. A card with all manner of perks isn’t worth it if you don’t use that card on a regular basis – especially if the card comes with an annual fee.
    • You often stay at hotels. If you spend just as much time at hotels as you do in the air, you might benefit more from a general travel card.

    Ask the experts

    Jennifer Burton
    • Jennifer Burton
    • Assistant Professor of Marketing
    • Sykes College of Business
    Eric Van Steenburg profile picture
    • Eric Van Steenburg
    • Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing
    • Montana State University
    Mark S. Rosenbaum profile picture
    • Mark S. Rosenbaum
    • Professor and Department Chair
    • University of South Carolina
    Abhijit Roy
    • Abhijit Roy
    • Professor of Marketing at the Kania School of Management
    • University of Scranton
    Ryan S. Eanes profile picture
    • Ryan S. Eanes
    • Ph.D., PRC – Assistant Professor
    • Temple University
    Paul Rose profile picture
    • Paul Rose
    • PhD Interim Dean
    • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
    Steven Brown
    • Steven Brown
    • Professor Emeritus of Marketing
    • Bauer College of Business, University of Houston

    Bottom line

    Airline credit cards are your go-to travel choice if you prefer sticking with a single airline during your travels, often offering bigger earnings on airline purchases than general travel cards. But if you’re not committed to a single airline, a general travel card can offer you more flexibility in how you earn and use your points.

    Not sure if an airline card is right for you? Check out our guide to travel credit cards for more options.

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